Movement is Life

Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself. 
—Moshe Feldenkrais

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Practitioner Spotlight: Mark Hirschfield

Entered on October 30, 2017 by FINY

Posted in


Where are you from originally?
The suburbs of Los Angeles. Are you old enough to remember “Valley Girls?” They came from the LA suburb, the San Fernando Valley. That’s where I grew up. I was a Valley Boy.

How did you find out about the Feldenkrais Method®?
My wife became a Feldenkrais Practitioner in David Zemach-Bersin’s first training that he held on the East Coast. I was in David’s second training.

What inspired you to become a practitioner?
During her training, I saw changes begin to occur in my wife’s thinking and emotional habits that she attributed to The Feldenkrais Method. She was too new to the Method to be able to explain to me exactly how a movement education technique could have a real and profound effect on her “non-physical” self. I was intrigued enough to join the next training program that began after she graduated. At first, I thought I’d attend the first year, figure it out, and quit. But I found a whole new sense of my own physicality in that first year and that motivated me to keep going. It wasn’t until sometime during the third year of training that I had what seemed, at the time, like an amazing thought, “Huh. Maybe I could actually do this for a living.” It took quite a while to make the transition from my former job to being a full-time Feldenkrais Practitioner, but it has been even more rewarding a journey than I ever imagined it could be.

What kind of clients do you see?
Our practice at The Feldenkrais Institute tends to be clinical in nature; people recovering from injury, surgery, looking to avoid surgery or find the way out of persistent or chronic pain. I’ve helped people recover from many difficulties, from back or neck pain, sciatica, joint problems, pain brought on by emotional distress, and on and on. I’ve assisted people in regaining function after a stroke or other neurological incident. I’ve taught people to live more comfortably with scoliosis. I’ve helped musicians find greater ease in playing and athletes perform more effectively and with less effort. The Feldenkrais Method is most effective for people who are excited by a process of self-examination and who are willing to accept some less than conventional ideas about the function of the human organism and even how one is defined as a person.

What do you do in your spare time?
I split my time between my home in New Paltz, NY and an apartment I keep with a roommate in Queens. I tend to be mostly a do-it-yourselfer, so I spend a good bit of time on maintenance, etc. I actually enjoy mowing the lawn and working in the garden. Incongruously, perhaps, for the past fifteen years, I’ve been a relatively active investor in the stock market. I like to read, but never feel I have enough time. I wrote fiction for a while and look forward to finding more time for that at some future point. Recreationally, I ski in the winter, try to keep fit with some kind of regular exercise, whether it is biking in New Paltz, going to the gym, or working out on my own. And I really do spend a lot of time doing Feldenkrais-related things: ATMs, reading, watching videos, etc.

You have an upcoming workshop called Free Your Jaw. Why did you choose this topic?
There are so many things with which The Feldenkrais Method can effectively help and everything we do revolves around the improvement of the entire person. That being said, Feldenkrais jaw-related lessons provide some of the quickest changes and are among the most universally beneficial that I know.  The jaw is such a common repository for tension, many of us are expending extra effort there with no awareness of it whatsoever. Releasing that extraneous effort can reduce headaches, relieve some eye strain, improve breathing and bring about a universal sense of improved well being. And the lessons are so simple anyone can do them with ease. As always, I’m looking forward to teaching this Wednesday’s workshop.

Register for the Free Your Jaw workshop here. Mark teaches Moving Out of Pain on Mondays at 6:00 pm, an Open class on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm, and a Basics Class on Wednesdays at 5:30. To register for classes, please click here. He sees clients for individual sessions Monday through Thursday. If you’d like to schedule a session with him, please call 212-727-1014. 

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